I received an email over the weekend from someone requesting that entries in the Comments Section which included their name be taken down from the blog.
At first I thought they meant comments they themselves had posted, so I was at a loss because I could not find any.
Then the correspondent directed me to Comments on Mr. SponsorPants which contained their name and some potentially identifying information in the body of the comment.
I removed the Comments, and I believe it was lax of me not to do so when they first went up.
I removed them not because I agree or disagree with what was said. And not solely because they were negative in nature, though that tone is not in keeping with what I hope to accomplish here. But ultimately because I have no way to verify one way or another the truth of such things -- plus, frankly, I do not think the Comments Section of a 12 Step Blog is really the right place for disparaging commentary of third party individuals.
(And I'm sorry, but "It's true! Just ask anyone in [name of town]!" doesn't quite cut it when it comes to veracity.)
To be clear: There is no conspiracy at work here -- no suppression of some "other sentiment." My side of the street is clean as far as allowing dissenting opinions on Mr. SponsorPants -- if you don't think so, then read around. Over the course of my Posts and the Comments I've let the anti-AA people speak their mind, and I let the couple of Fundamentalist people who swung by to tell me that I was going to burn in Hell keep Commenting for a while, until I felt it was abusive and responded in the Comment Section that I would no longer allow them to post if they kept it up -- but I did not Unpublish their original Comments. They were speaking to me about me, or about their personal faith, or about their experience of AA meetings or philosophy in general. They did not identify any other persons or groups.
Third party character assassination is unacceptable, and I will Unpublish Comments I deem to be such as soon as I come across them.
If you know something to be true, or you have a problem with someone in AA (or out of it, for that matter) then start your own damn blog and write to your heart's content about it. Starting a blog is free, and if you keep the "basic" package it remains free -- there are a number of hosting companies for you to choose from.
I'm not a spokesperson for AA (there is no such thing). I'm a silly middle-aged sober alcoholic writing on my personal blog as anonymously as possible a variety of essays about my 12 Step journey -- and when I can I am happy to respond to emails I receive (though my track record for the turn-around time on that is pretty spotty).
I'm sure if someone were crazy enough or small enough they could become a nuisance and spam the Comments -- but it is my hope that while some people might be angry or hurt or afraid they can be bigger than those feelings, and they will understand the point I am making -- and even if they do not agree with my 12 Step world view in general, respect my right to express it here in the manner of my choosing, and no longer put disparaging Comments about third parties on this blog.
In addition, there is a difference between honest anger and mean spiritedness, and a BIG difference between disagreement and abuse. In sobriety, while I sometimes struggle with people pleasing, I have learned that I'm nobody's doormat -- so abusive comments will be deleted as well.
Okay. That's it for the housekeeping.
We now return you to our regular blogging content.